CIFOR–ICRAF publishes over 750 publications every year on agroforestry, forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy and much more – in multiple languages.

CIFOR–ICRAF addresses local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet.

We deliver actionable evidence and solutions to transform how land is used and how food is produced: conserving and restoring ecosystems, responding to the global climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises. In short, improving people’s lives.

Integrating sustainable and inclusive energy technologies into agrifood systems in East Africa

Side event at the FAO Science and Innovation Forum 2022

Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy is vital for production, post-harvest management and cooking of food. While the need for transforming agrifood systems is certain, the debate on how this transformation should take place has not yet resulted in definitive conclusions and strategies. This side event at the FAO Science and Innovation Forum 2022 will address progress and opportunities for  more efficient, inclusive and sustainable energy consumption in agrifood systems. The speakers will highlight the role of renewable energy technologies on transforming agrifood system. They will also discuss the current knowledge on best practices and approaches to drive a more inclusive and gendered innovation development.

Registration Event website Flyer

Agenda

Organizers

Background and objective

Since 2009, CIFOR-ICRAF and partners have been implementing a Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS REDD+). The GCS REDD+ aims to understand national REDD+ policy processes, including to learn from subnational-level REDD+ implementation and from engagement with local stakeholders. One activity in the current phase is to build research collaboration with local universities. This aims to provide REDD+ policymakers and practitioner communities with the information, analysis and tools toensure effective and cost‐efficient reduction of carbon emissions with equitable impacts and co‐benefits – the ‘3Es’ (effective, efficient and equitable) principles.

East Kalimantan province is implementing an emission reduction programme at subnational level following the Forest Carbon Partnership FacilityCarbon Fund scheme funded by the World Bank. It is a result-based payments, which allow the World Bank to pay as much as USD 5 for every tonne of verified CO2e emission reduction (ER) during the five-year monitoring period (2019–24). Compared to the other 363 provinces, East Kalimantan is a leading example of a REDD+ implementation project in Indonesia. This remarkable achievement is a product of collaborative works among East Kalimantan stakeholders i.e. government institution and non-govermental partners.

As the leading higher education institution for forestry in East Kalimantan, Faculty of Forestry Universitas Mulawarman members and experts have contributed to various phases of the East Kalimantan ER programme. With this common interest, CIFOR-ICRAF and the faculty agreed to collaborate on the impact evaluation of the REDD+ programme. This collaboration is articulated around a common goal: co-developing and implementing robust impact evaluation methods to understand if, and under which conditions, policies aimed at improving the management of forested landscape in East Kalimantan are effective in achieving sustainability.

The impact evaluation study in East Kalimantan follows quasi-experimental approaches. It attempts to answers question such as, “what would have happened in the case of no intervention?” to better understand whether implementation led to the desired environmental and/or livelihood outcomes and to understand in what condition(s) those outcomes are expected to occur.

The first step of this mutual collaboration is the workshop and kickoff events held in Samarinda. These will (i) present and discuss CIFOR-ICRAF impact evaluation methods based on quasi-experimental design; (ii) present and discuss research activities related to REDD+/FOLU sectors being implemented by Universitas Mulawarman; and (iii) exchange and explore together new research ideas that the team could focus on.

Date, time, and tentative agenda and targeted participants

The invitation only workshop and kick-off meeting will take place in Samarinda on 10 and 12 October 2022, mainly in Bahasa Indonesia.

The workshop (10 October 2022) will focus on impact evaluation methods (i.e., introduction, strengths and limitations, and examples) and discussions pertaining to policy options for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The kick-off meeting (12 October 2022) will involve a much broader range of stakeholders from government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), particularly who has performed an impact evaluation study in East Kalimantan.

Contact person

Bimo Dwisatrio: b.dwisatrio@cgiar.org
Sandy Nofyanza: s.nofyanza@cgiar.org

Agenda

The 8th World Forest Week (WFW2022) will feature a line up of of exciting events a broad range of topics at the sidelines of the 26th Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO26).

World Forest Week will bring together FAO Member States, a range of partner organizations, leaders, science and youth to exchange, connect, showcase best practices and actions on the ground, and to contribute from the forest community to the global international debate on forestry and environmental issues.

WFW2022 is structured around the priority areas outlined in the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 with its vision of a sustainable and food secure world for all, in the context of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Registration Event website

Agenda

Organizer

8th Annual Meeting on Forests and Livelihoods

The 8th Annual Meeting on Forests and Livelihoods brings together stakeholders working to advance knowledge at the intersection of forests and livelihoods and enable its application to policy and practice. Join the meeting to gain knowledge around leading-edge research and developments on forests and livelihoods globally.

Event website Agenda

CIFOR-ICRAF Speakers

Anne Larson

Team Leader, Equal Opportunities, Gender Justice & Tenure, CIFOR-ICRAF

Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti

Scientist, CIFOR-ICRAF

Iliana Monterroso

CIFOR-ICRAF Associate

Kristen Evans

CIFOR-ICRAF Associate

Dietmar Stoian

Lead Scientist, Value Chains, Private Sector Engagement and Investments, CIFOR-ICRAF

Valentina Robiglio

Senior land use systems scientist, CIFOR-ICRAF

Mulia Nurhasan

Scientist, CIFOR-ICRAF

James Reed

Scientist, CIFOR-ICRAF

Amy Ickowitz

CIFOR-ICRAF

Pham Thu Thuy

Team Leader, Climate Change, Energy and Low-carbon Development, CIFOR-ICRAF

Aoife Bennett

CIFOR-ICRAF

Gabriela Demarchi

CIFOR-ICRAF

Freddie Siangulube

CIFOR-ICRAF

Agenda

‘We wish more people thought about tree seed’: achieving plentiful quality seed in Ethiopia with lessons for the world

A farmer group harvests higher quality seed after training by the Hawassa Tree Seed Centre in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region. Photo by Cathy Watson

By Cathy Watson

Almost 300 kilometres south of Addis Ababa in Halaba zone, a young man hits branches of a tree with a bamboo pole. As seed pods rain on to a tarpaulin, women and an older man gather them for processing, and another youth high in the tree shakes down more.

Once back on the ground, the high tree climber, Shemssu Seman, 20, says, ‘Seed is a really good source of income. We used to buy it. But the germination rate was low, and when we collected for ourselves, we had a problem of tree selection: we took from whatever trees we found. Today we collect from many.’

The group has its own nursery and now sells the seed they collect and the seedlings that ensue. It is win-win. Both are of higher quality than what was available before, and thanks to a seed collection protocol, members are growing superior trees for themselves for timber, fruit, shade, soil and water conservation, fodder for livestock, and forage for bees. Bees particularly like the flowers of Cordia africana, says Shemssu. The tree also provides timber and mulch.

This tree is one of 15 that are the focus of an innovation called breeding seed orchards. The group are among 2400 rural people newly trained in the business of seed and how to collect for valuable traits like stem straightness for timber. And the tarp and ladder that helped Shemssu climb the tree are part of a drive to equip the seed sector.

The trained group extracts seed from pods of an indigenous Albizia; high tree climber Shemssu Seman; a farmer steadies a ladder against a tree; a young woman in the group’s tree seed bank supported by CIFOR-ICRAF; and a view of the landscape degradation that prevails, including severe erosion and a heavily silted river with collapsing banks. Photos by Cathy Watson

All this activity emanates from a large Norway-funded project called PATSPO led by CIFOR-ICRAF with the Ethiopian government. It is likely the most comprehensive push to build a seed sector in any country. It speaks to CIFOR-ICRAFs goal of transforming the quality of tree growing.

‘The objective is to support government to meet tree seed demand. Ethiopia has huge commitment to the Bonn Challenge. Bringing 20 million hectares under restoration by 2030 requires a huge amount of seed,’ says PATSPO leader Soren Moestrup, one of a generation of Danish foresters who have dedicated their lives to tree seed at home and abroad.

The government is fully engaged and recognizes the gaps.

‘Ethiopia’s flora is well characterized. We have rich knowledge on species distribution and diversity. But still the great majority of seed is from unknown sources from informal sector seed suppliers and is of uncertain quality,’ says Abanyeh Derero, Director of Plantation and Agroforestry Research at Ethiopia Forest Development (EFD), the country’s new forestry body.

Describing the challenge further, Yigardu Mulatu, EFD’s Tree seed unit coordinator, says, ‘Currently each woreda (district) decides which species to produce, and seed procurement is done by finance officers. We are still highly dependent on exotics yet restoration should bring back native trees to their niches. We need science-led tree planting.’

The ‘Provision of Adequate Tree Seed Portfolio in Ethiopia’ project started in 2018 and aims to support the government to strengthen existing tree-seed organizations and private and government seed dealers. Among others, it works with, the Central Tree Seed Centre in Addis Ababa and four regional ones, Gullele Botanical Garden, universities, and the government-owned Oromia and Amhara Forestry Enterprises.

It is on the 3.7 million hectares of natural and planted forest land managed by Oromia Forestry Enterprise that some of the 30 breeding seed orchards (BSOs) developed by PATSPO sit.

In the Menegesha Suba forest landscape. Abrham Abiyu gazes across a breeding seed orchard of Hagenia abyssinica, an endangered priority species with exquisite timber and a seed that expels tapeworm. Photo by Cathy Watson

Danish forester Erik Dahl Kjaer, one of the originators of the BSO concept, defines a BSO as serving ‘multiple purposes’, producing seed, testing genetic entries (progeny trial), and providing a breeding population by establishing a seed orchard based on progenies from selected trees in a repeated block design’.

In simpler language, BSOs are created from seed collected from the best mother trees across areas where a species occurs; 2500 trees are planted per hectare, and 1-3 hectares per species. These are gradually thinned leaving an orchard that is a source of high quality and improved seed. Each tree has a bar code detailing where it originates from.

Gesturing to an orchard of East African Pencil Cedar (Juniperus procera), PATSPO project leader Abrham Abiyu explains that seed had been taken from 22-25 trees in each of six locations: Suba/Menegesha, Wof Washa, Dodola, Yegof-Wollo and Tigray.

‘This species is very important socially, ecologically and economically. It is termite resistant and very in demand for tools, houses, hedges, fences, woodlots and large-scale plantations. And people like the smoke.’

There are orchards as well of Grevillea robusta and Eucalyptus globulus. Of the latter, Abiyu says, ‘You can see why people plant them. It’s a cash crop that can be coppiced five times.’ The breeding objective for Cordia africana is a ‘branching habit’ of fewer branches.

‘The main thing for a BSO is that seed should be collected from 20 plus mother trees and spaced some distance apart,’ he says. ‘BSOs enable us not to wait long for elite planting materials. If we followed traditional tree breeding, it would take much longer,’ he says.

Green jobs: a private seed company in Addis; at Dima Tree Seed Centre in Oromia, a labourer cleans seed of Milletia ferruginea, Lidya Chala conducts germination test, Director Lemma Kitila with processed seed. Photos by Cathy Watson

At the Amhara Forestry Enterprise in the city of Bahir Dar, Director General Biadglign Shiferaw said PATSPO had had a ‘right hand role’ in 2021 in helping them: describe and document more than 60 seed sources; set up 14 breeding seed orchards; and train 58 groups that collected 33,500 kg of seeds, earning on average $1206 each.

‘These BSOs will produce a huge amount of seed from a small plot of land,’ said the forester. ‘Without seed sources, there is no forest development. And if there is no forest development, there is no forest industry. ‘

Across the project more than 200 seed sources have been documented and described, and BSOs of 15 species assembled. Eight species are indigenous: Cordia africana, Albizia gummifera, Hagenia abyssinica, Juniperus procera, Podocarpus falcata, Olea europaea ssp. cuspidata, Moringa stenopetala and Faidherbia albida. Seven are exotic: Grevillea robusta, Eucalyptus grandis and globulus, Cupressus lusitanica, Acacia decurrens, Pinus patula and Casuarina equisetifolia.

Teff, the delicate grain for injera, the staple fermented flatbread, grows with trees in an agroforestry system. Most smallholder mixed use landscapes in Ethiopia are degraded, however, and need additional trees. Photo by Cathy Watson

Species for future BSOs include Prunus Africana, Boswellia sacra, the primary tree that produces frankincense, and Millettia ferruginea, which is endemic in Ethiopia. Separate activities are on-going for indigenous fruit trees such as Adansonia digitata (baobab) and Ziziphus mauritiana.

A PATSPO survey deduced that just 20 species constitute 99% of trees currently planted in Ethiopia, and Eucalyptus species account for 90%. There is a need for greater representation of some of Ethiopia’s 1200 trees.

‘This is a new model. We can recommend it. We are successful with promising results,’ says Abiyu.

‘We wish more people thought about tree seed,’ says Amhara Forest Enterprise DG Shiferaw.


PATSPO is funded by the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) through the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia (RNE). World Agroforestry (ICRAF) is responsible for the implementation of the project, in coordination with the Ethiopian Forestry Development. A second four-year project commenced in May 2022.

Agroforestry with Agroecology: pathways for delivering on (truly) nature-based and socially inclusive solutions

This session aims to raise awareness on the multiple functions of agroforestry systems that, if embedded in an agroecological approach, could potentially contribute to achieving several sustainable development goals simultaneously.

Speakers will address key linkages between agroforestry and agroecology in the context of Latin America, focusing on the role of agroecological systems and practices in enhancing ecosystem services, enabling socially inclusive and equitable food systems and restoring degraded lands.

Registration Event website

Agenda

New initiative: Catalyzing expansion of trees outside forests in India

USAID and Indian Government collaborate to increase tree coverage for climate action in India

It is often said that the best time to act against climate change was yesterday; the next best time is today. In a bid to support global climate change mitigation and adaptation goals, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Indian government’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) launched a new program, ‘Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI)’, on September 8, 2022.

Led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), the five-year program seeks to scale up trees outside forests in India to enhance carbon sequestration, increase tree-based livelihoods, and build climate-resilient agriculture.

In recent times, the Indian government has given huge impetus to the expansion of trees outside forests through policies and schemes that incentivize and support farmers and other stakeholders to take up trees outside forests (TOF) systems, particularly agroforestry.

“India is completely committed to agroforestry,” said Leena Nandan – MoEFCC’s secretary – in her address at the launch. “It is center-stage in our planning. I hope the intervention and collaboration on trees outside forests will lead to a very successful outcome in terms of giving a visible boost to agroforestry and fostering an increase in green cover and the economic activities centered around it – including the commercial production of trees.”

“Trees can help achieve the ‘triple-win’ situation – providing livelihoods, absorbing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the health of the ecosystems,” said Chandrashekar Biradar, TOFI’s Chief of Party and India’s Country Director for CIFOR-ICRAF. “By bringing lost trees into mainstream agriculture and man-made landscapes, TOFI will play a vital role in meeting India’s national climate goals and international commitments.”

Such targets include the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (NDCs), the Bonn Challenge, Land Degradation Neutrality, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Growing trees outside forests can also support food and livelihood security for rural Indians, especially for poor and vulnerable groups.

However, there are various economic, policy, capacity, and information-related barriers to realizing the full potential of trees outside forests in the country. The TOFI program aims to address these barriers by:

  • Strengthening the enabling environment to improve laws, regulations, policies, certifications, and standards to scale up trees outside forests
  • Enhancing access to finance, insurance, and quality planting material, and providing incentives and value-chain support to boost demand for products from trees outside forests
  • Bridging gaps in technical and market information through extension services, knowledge, data, monitoring, and decision tools

TOFI seeks to approach climate change through the lens of multi-stakeholder engagement in tree planting for its numerous benefits. These benefits include carbon capture, improved soil health for increased productivity and income, and subsequent improvement in livelihoods. “The TOFI program will improve individual lives through increased economic opportunities and crop yields, as well as contribute to our global priorities of addressing climate change through sustainable solutions,” said Veena Reddy, Mission Director for USAID India. “We hope this will provide a model that can be scaled and replicated in India and beyond.”

The project will be implemented in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. TOFI will be implemented through key partners, including Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE); Central Agroforestry Research Institute (CAFRI); Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti (GRAVIS); National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NIAP); Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF); The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI); Tropical Forest Research Institute (TFRI); and the Forest College and Research Institute of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

By expanding trees beyond forests, TOFI will contribute to putting 2.8 million hectares of new land into trees outside forests across the seven project states – thus capturing 420 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Also, by contributing to other ecosystem services such as the availability of raw materials for industries, safe drinking water, clean air, erosion prevention, and nutrient cycling, the program will impact positively on at least 13.1 million people across the country.

Learn more about TOFI

World Agroforestry signs Host Country Agreement with Sri Lanka

From left: Tony Simons, Director General ICRAF; Javed Rizvi, ICRAF Regional Director, Asia; Mr Ajith Abeysekera, Director General of the Sri Lanka External Resources Department; and Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Environment

On 14 September 2022 World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka signed a Host Country Agreement formalizing their shared commitment to developing strategies for a more resilient, food-secure Sri Lanka.

“We feel honoured and privileged to be afforded this esteemed status as a high-level international partner,” said Tony Simons, Director General of ICRAF. “This year alone we have seen how climate change, unsustainable farming systems, and conflicts can unbalance entire economies and cause suffering worldwide. For centuries, Sri Lanka has skilfully harnessed the power of nature through traditional agroforestry practices, and it can set an example by continuing to place a high priority on addressing environmental, food security and social development issues. The Host Country Agreement offers ICRAF even more scope – and responsibility – to contribute to Sri Lanka’s development agenda by supporting local expertise with the latest in agricultural science. We stand ready to assist the government, institutions and people of Sri Lanka in creating a greener and more vibrant future for all.”

Anura Dissanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, said: “Sri Lanka sees in the green economy vast opportunities for sustainable development. Our biodiversity is a treasure waiting to be unlocked and we expect ICRAF’s presence in Sri Lanka to catalyse our progress towards a resilient economy and improved income opportunities for smallholder farmers.”

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and has a rich tradition of agroecology. But according to the World Food Programme, 80 percent of the land is prone to water shortages and nearly 30 percent of its population are currently food-insecure. Urgent solutions are needed to climate-proof the country’s agroecosystems and increase food security for its most vulnerable populations.

One immediate priority of the Agreement is to set in motion a USD 49 million joint project between the Ministry of Irrigation, ICRAF and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the project aims to strengthen climate resilience among the subsistence farmers and agricultural plantation communities living in vulnerable downstream areas of the Knuckles Mountain Range Catchment in central Sri Lanka.

Over 1.3 million people – 51.4 percent of whom are women – live in this area and can benefit greatly from the adoption of diversified, climate-resilient livelihood options. The five-year project aims to enhance their ability to weather shortages of irrigation and drinking water by climate-proofing both farm- and land-management practices and the underlying upland and lowland ecosystems, which span an area of 346,000 hectares.

This on-the-ground work complements another GCF project in Sri Lanka, namely ICRAF’s role as a delivery partner in the development of the country’s ‘GCF readiness’. In 2018, as a first step towards the Host Country Agreement, both parties signed a Letter of Intent at the 24th UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, with the aim of working together towards mitigating tropical deforestation, land depletion and rural poverty through improved agroforestry systems. The Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment (MMDE), which is Sri Lanka’s National Designated Authority (NDA) to the GCF, requested ICRAF to be its delivery partner and help build its capacity to perform its GCF-readiness duties.

“Having collaborated with ICRAF in strengthening our readiness to harness opportunities to combat climate change and the erosion of key ecosystem services, we welcome the potential benefits of the permanent presence of an ICRAF team in the country working alongside our world-class Sri Lankan scientists and practitioners,” said Dr Anil Jasinghe, Secretary of Environment. “We firmly believe in such partnerships.”

“This collaboration will effectively build a strategic framework for engaging the GCF on climate interventions by advancing the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan and Sri Lanka’s Nationally Determined Contribution,” said Simons.

Other priority activities under the Host Country Agreement include supporting the emergence of a climate-resilient green economy by mainstreaming the tools of collaborative research into national policies that address mitigation and adaptation, green development, ecosystem services, and social forestry and tenure. ICRAF will continue efforts to strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacity to carry out ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, including support to upgrade value chains and improve ecosystem resilience through agroforestry. It will also develop new and productive partnerships across public and private sectors, while conducting research that positively impacts development at scale.

ICRAF’s ability to contribute to Sri Lanka’s sustainable development has only increased since its functional merger with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). While maintaining separate legal entities and headquarters, CIFOR-ICRAF now operates under a single governing Board and leadership team, with a joint regional structure and 10-year strategy. Harnessing a combined 70 years of expertise and extensive partnership networks across Africa, Asia and Latin America, CIFOR-ICRAF has over 700 dedicated staff working in 60 countries, and has completed over 2,200 projects worth more than USD 2 billion in 92 countries.

Since January 2005, ICRAF researchers in Sri Lanka have focused on identifying and overcoming barriers to agroforestry development, as well as capacity building with a variety of partners, including the Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Resources, the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka and the University of Peradeniya.

“ICRAF has been a trusted partner in Sri Lanka’s agricultural and forestry landscape for over two decades,” said Javed Rizvi, CIFOR-ICRAF Director for Asia and head of ICRAF’s former South Asia Regional Programme, which included Sri Lanka. “Most notably, proactive efforts by ICRAF researchers contributed to the swift eradication of a devastating outbreak of Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease (WCLWD) in 2007.”

Coconut is a source of income for hundreds of thousands of resource-poor Sri Lankan farmers, who rely on the trees for food, cosmetics, wood, choir and medicine. But in 2007, coconut trees were dying from WCLWD, with over 320,000 coconut trees affected across three districts. Drawing on its experience with WCLWD in Kerala, India, ICRAF worked in partnership with Sri Lanka’s Coconut Research Institute to contain the outbreak. CRI launched a programme to breed disease-resistant coconut trees, and ICRAF provided technical support to maintain the health of coconut-based agroforestry systems.

On World Coconut Day, 12 October 2012, the then Ministry of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development presented ICRAF with the Presidential Science Award – the first time it was awarded to an international organization – and a certificate of appreciation for its role in supporting the transition to a more resilient agroforestry model.

Other examples of ICRAF’s ongoing work in Sri Lanka include improving home gardens through diversification and strengthening the existing germplasm; training of key staff in the policy and practice of agroforestry for sustainable development, as well as through fellowships and training courses; and joint efforts on the domestication and improvement of quality planting material – mainly of gooseberry, jackfruit and dragon fruit – which led to the introduction of high-yielding varieties.

Mr Laksiri Abeysekera, Interim CIFOR-ICRAF Country Head for Sri Lanka, said: “As we establish a more stable institutional presence in the country, we look forward to working with partners to support Sri Lanka in meeting its national commitments on climate, biodiversity and sustainable development, and to build greater climate resilience in Sri Lanka’s agroecosystems.”

Dr Sunimal Jayathunga, Additional Secretary for Environment Development echoed the sentiment: “We recognize that climate change will play an enormous role in shaping ecosystems and livelihoods in Sri Lanka in the decades to come. In ICRAF, the Government of Sri Lanka recognizes a key partner that will help build resilience and adaptive capacity across our unique and precious ecosystems and the people who depend upon them.”

The agreement was signed at the Treasury Secretariat Building in Colombo by Mr Ajith Abeysekera, Director General of the Sri Lanka External Resources Department and by Prof Tony Simons, Director General of ICRAF. Among those present were Dr Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Environment; Mr Sampath Manthreenayake, Additional Director General, External Resources Department; Dr Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director General of ICRAF, Dr Javed Rizvi, Director of Asia for ICRAF and Mr Laksiri Abeysekera, Interim CIFOR-ICRAF Country Head for Sri Lanka.

Contact:

  • CIFOR-ICRAF Country Office
    Laksiri Abeysekera
    CIFOR-ICRAF Country Coordinator for Sri Lanka
    Email: l.abeysekera@cgiar.org
  • ICRAF headquarters
    Susan Onyango
    Global Communications Coordinator
    United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
    PO Box 30677, Nairobi, 00100, Kenya
    Tel: +254 20 7224000
    Via USA: +1 650 833 6645/+1 650 833 6646
    Email: s.onyango@cgiar.org
    Web: www.worldagroforestry.org

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Rubber set to revitalize Nepal’s degraded and underutilized lands to boost climate and livelihoods’ goals

CIFOR-ICRAF has teamed with two NGOs to conduct research-in-development of the natural rubber sector in the country.

Tilak Bhandari, pioneer rubber scientist and IRRN executive director at a rubber and tea farm in Chilimkot, Mai Municipality, Ilam, Nepal. Photo: Bhola Neupane.

The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Rubber Research Nepal (IRRN) and WorldStar Rubber Farm Company Pvt Ltd on 23 August 2022.

IRRN and WorldStar are a non-governmental organization and private company, respectively, which support development of policies and programmes and implement activities related to rubber and rubber-based production and trade, natural resources management and environmental conservation in Nepal.

“The main aim of this cooperation is to produce scientific knowledge and appropriate technologies, expand activities related to rubber agroforestry and natural resources management, and transfer them for practical application to Government agencies, private companies, communities, practitioners, researchers and development partners,” said Javed Rizvi, director for Asia with CIFOR-ICRAF.

Rubber with black pepper intercropped, in Jhapa, Eastern Nepal. Photo: Tilak Bhandari/IRRN.

To achieve their objectives, the partners will collaborate on raising funds for research and development, particularly regarding sustainable management of rubber cultivation, establishment of a farm-forest “engagement landscape”, support for social and community forestry, exploration of the role of forested and production landscapes in climate-change mitigation and adaptation, examination and development of forestry and agroforestry value chains, training and capacity development and exploration of gender and youth issues related to farm-forest development.

“This is a very timely partnership,” said Keshab Adhikari, Nepal liaison scientist with CIFOR-ICRAF. “Available information indicates rubber production in Nepal is around 450 tonnes per year while annual consumption of rubber and rubber-related products is 12,000 tonnes. It has been estimated that by 2025 the demand for natural rubber is expected to exceed 20,000 tonnes annually, valued at USD 150 million. To meet this demand and address the environmental and social challenges faced by the country, we see that this partnership is an important step forward.”

Tilak B. Bhandari, executive director of IRRN, has devoted more than three decades to pioneering rubber production in Nepal.

“This MoU is a great and demand-based opportunity for cooperation and co-work,” he said. “Rubber commercialization has become one of Nepal’s top national agenda items for the public and Government, with Parliament prioritising debate so as to swiftly harness its various potentialities.”

Hevea brasiliensis, aka rubber, was first planted in Nepal in the 1970s but has expanded very little beyond its initial area. The total land under rubber cultivation is only about 555 hectares, with average annual production of 1.1 tonnes per hectare. Consequently, Nepal imports more than 98% of its natural rubber, mainly from India, China, Thailand and Malaysia.

However, Nepal’s eastern region is abundantly suited for growing natural rubber, which needs well distributed rainfall (2000–3000 mm) with relatively high humidity (80%) and temperatures ranging 20–35 0C, all of which are present in the region.

“Nepal’s east is a highly fortunate landscape for high-value, low-volume crops like dry rubber, which has not been fully utilized for its admired income at household and national levels,” said Navin Joshi, president of WorldStar Rubber, who has expertise in natural-rubber quality assurance, processing and marketing. “This understanding between specialty organizations is an opportunity to boost youth and women’s engagement through diverse socio-economic circles.”

Rubber farmers gathering in an industrial village opening ceremony in Jhapa, Eastern Nepal. Photo: Tilak Bhandari/IRRN.

The new partnership will exchange knowledge, carry out research and engage with Government, particularly, to support the re-establishment of a body mandated with development of the rubber sector. A focus of such a body would be facilitating a conducive policy environment and providing various support mechanisms.

General aims would include increasing the number of rubber farmers’ groups and individual farmers, training and capacity development, expansion of the rubber-cultivation area and demonstrating the economic advantages of integrating rubber with production of fruit, annual crops and biomaterial, that is, various forms of ‘rubber agroforestry’.

“Any such large-scale planting of trees as this partnership proposes should follow CIFOR-ICRAF’s maxim of identifying the ‘right trees in the right place for the right purpose while respecting local rights,” said Himlal Baral, senior forest and landscape restoration scientist with CIFOR-ICRAF. “Evidence shows that agroforestry systems that combine rubber, other tree species — including fruit, timber and non-timber production species — with other alley and intercrops for multiple benefits for livelihoods and the environment are the most effective and efficient.”

Contact:

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Calling all agroecology enthusiasts!

An open invitation to join a global community of practice

By Monica Evans

Agroecology is growing in prominence as a key strategy to address current climate and good security crises. Also referred to as ecological or regenerative agriculture, it’s a farming approach that’s inspired by natural ecosystems, and combines local and scientific knowledge to focus on the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment.

To help maximize the uptake and benefits of this promising approach, the Center for International Forestry Research–World Agroforestry Centre (CIFOR-ICRAF) last year launched a Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on the topic, in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Biovision, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and TMG Think Tank for Sustainability.

The TPP includes a global community of practice (CoP), where agroecology enthusiasts can share relevant news and ideas, have meaningful conversations with like-minded and knowledgeable people, ask direct questions to scientists, and explore a wide range of resources on the topic. Hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF)’s global community of independently-organized chapters (GLFx), the CoP provides an opportunity for members to connect and learn from each other, develop co-created knowledge, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.

Now, the fledgling CoP is spreading its wings, with its first Activation Workshop being held online on 13 September at 15:00 CEST. The workshop will guide attendees through numerous functionalities of the GLFx platform on which the CoP is hosted; shed light on the scope and purpose of the vibrant and growing community of agroecology enthusiasts; provide a wealth of real-life examples of CoP features; and take prospective members through the sign-up process. There will also be time to ask questions and develop a common vision for the CoP.

To register, click here; a detailed agenda is available here.